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Second Flush

September 3rd, 2015

Around the beginning or middle of July, I often seed a second flush of peas, beans, and zucchini. These plants often exhaust themselves and don’t fruit for a long period of time. I really like them, so I find planting a second batch gives me a long season. It also allows me to easily pull out the exhausted plants to replace them with fall crops when they begin to languish.
Second Flush Garden 1
The great thing about a second planting is that the seeds germinate quickly and the plants grow like gangbusters with the heat and long days. I’m always amazed at how quickly they grow and fruit. Zucchini that I seed in May often takes 6-8 weeks to start fruiting. This zucchini started fruiting only four weeks after being seeded.
Second Flush Garden 2
Second Flush Garden 3
Second Flush Garden 4
Succession planting is something that I’m getting better and better at the longer I garden. It really is amazing how much you can grow in a small space when you do it. I find that it also makes it much easier for me to pull up exhausted veggies that I used to let hang on in the garden even with meager harvest (broccoli offshoots ring a bell?). These aren’t the only vegetables I plant in succession, I have lettuce, broccoli, fennel, carrots, beets, and a few others that were seeded throughout the summer as space became available in the garden.

Are you in the habit of planting in succession to lengthen the harvest and maximize your garden space?

A Summer Favorite

August 6th, 2015

It is the season for zucchini noodles once again and that makes me very, very happy! I got this julienne peeler last year and starting making them quickly and easily.
zucchini noodles
zucchini noodles 2
Now we eat them all summer long and love them. You’ll find us topping them with meatballs and marinara, stuffing them into spring rolls, and tossing them with vinaigrette.
zucchini noodles 1
I wrote a blog post on how I make these lovelies last year, you can find it here. I always salt them generously to draw out some of the water, that way they have the a texture closer to noodles and aren’t as soggy. I also don’t slice up the inside of the squash, it usually gets way too mushy and the chickens make use of it.
zucchini noodles 3
Thankfully, my zucchini plants are producing like crazy and I have a second planting sizing up to last long into the fall.

Do you do anything creative to use up the zucchini from your garden?

Real Food

July 14th, 2012

Maybe most important, farm food itself is totally different from what most people now thing of as food: none of those colorful boxed and bagged products, precut, parboiled, ready to eat, and engineered to appeal to our basic desires. We were selling the opposite: naked, unprocessed food, two steps from the dirt.

Kristin Kimball from The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love

The main reason I started an edible garden is because I was dissatisfied with the quality of produce at the grocery store. There’s just something about food that’s freshly plucked from the garden. I still buy some things at my local farmer’s market, but even that isn’t quite as good as something that’s only minutes from plant to plate.

This week we’ve been enjoying so many wonderful homegrown vegetables: beets, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and all kinds of herbs to season and add flavor. Every morning we’ve been enjoying harvest vegetable hash with eggs poached on top – life is truly good! (for my recipe visit Eat Outside the Bag).

What are you enjoying from the garden this week?

It’s a Record

October 12th, 2011

Generally I can’t grow a zucchini to save my life, which is funny because everyone else has them coming out their ears. I think my soil is simply too lean to grow squash. That doesn’t stop me from trying, each year I optimistically plant zucchini and winter squash and end up with only one or two zucchinis and a few tiny pumpkins. Yesterday I was out clearing out the garden and ripped out my zucchini plant, which somehow has managed to survive all summer long producing a few blooms and only a few tiny fruits. Much to my delight, I found this beast lurking under the withering leaves.

A zucchini of this size is a record for Chiot’s Run, we’ve never seen something like this in the garden. This one happens to be a ‘Romanesco’ from Renee’s Garden. I’m pleasantly surprised and happy to have one last zucchini to enjoy fried up in slices and stuffed into our morning omelets.

Have you found any surprises while cleaning out the garden?

The First Zucchini of the Summer

July 8th, 2010

I harvested my first zucchini on Tuesday July 6th, it was a ‘Romanesco’ Zucchini from Renee’s Garden. It’s described like this: With traditional style and flavor, high yields and disease resistance, this delicious Italian favorite has creamy sweet flesh, tender striped skin, and long-holding edible blossoms. I must admit, it was very tender and quite delicious and the blossom was still attached when I harvested it at 7 inches long. Last year I harvested my first zucchini on July 16th, so this hot weather has certainly helped the zucchini out this year.

You really can’t beat zucchini for a quick and easy summer side, we enjoy it all summer long. I like to pick them small and slice them or cut them in half and saute them in a skillet, then top with freshly ground pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of good olive oil. We enjoyed this one with venison burgers topped with blue cheese and caramelized onions; a perfect summer meal!

This year I’m growing a few other varieites of zucchini as well, I’m growing ‘Ronde de Nice’ again, Burpee ‘Fordhook’ and ‘Romanesco’. I’ve never had great luck growing it, most people end up with too much zucchini, I only get a few fruits per plant. Hopefully this year will be different. At least I usually have an abundance of squash blossoms, which we’ve been enjoying stuffed with blue cheese, breaded and fried (note: we usually only eat the male blossoms because the female ones will produce fruit).

Are you usually overrun with zucchini in the summer like everyone else? What’s your favorite way to enjoy this vegetable?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.